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Book Tour: The Magic of Solendrea by Martin F Hengst

The Last Swordmage
Magic of Solendrea Book 1
by Martin F. Hengst
Genre: Epic Fantasy

After being sold into slavery by her father and accused of a murder she didn’t commit, Tiadaria finds herself facing the executioner’s axe. The only thing standing in the way is the village Constable.

After thirty years of loyal service to the Imperium, Royce retired to King’s Reach as the village’s Constable. He thought it would be the perfect place to rest, relax, and die in peace. He was wrong. In an unexpected complication, the slave with her neck on the block seems to possess the same magic Royce has hidden all his life.

Paying off Tiadaria’s bond, Royce takes possession the slave. Now he must teach her to trust him, teach her to fight, and teach her about her unique abilities before they both run out of time. An ancient menace, the Xarundi, have returned. They are the most dangerous enemy humanity has ever faced, and they have a thousand years of bloodthirsty vengeance to exact.

Book links here:
The Darkest Hour
Magic of Solendrea Book 2

 

When an agent from the Imperium Intelligence Service shows up on Tiadaria’s doorstep, he leaves her with unwelcome news. Recovering from their brutal defeat at Dragonfell, the Xarundi are seeking out an ancient and incredibly powerful relic buried in the snow and ice of the Frozen Frontier.

Tiadaria travels to the city of Ethergate to seek out an apprentice skilled in magical research. Even with his reluctant help, unearthing information on the relic proves to be almost impossible until a savage turn of events puts them on the right path.

Now it’s a race against time through some of the most unforgiving territory on Solendrea to beat the Xarundi to the relic and stop them from unleashing its devastating power on the unsuspecting masses.

 Book links here:
The Pegasus’s Lament
Magic of Solendrea Book 3

 

A desecrated tomb, a missing relic, and cold-blooded murder. The streets of Dragonfell are awash in blood and the King has called on Tiadaria, the last swordmage, and Wynn, her quintessentialist companion, to uncover the nature of the darkness.

What they find is more dangerous than they could ever imagine and from a source they’d have never expected. Now Tiadaria must defeat an enemy that knows her almost as well as she knows herself.

The survival of the Human Imperium is on the line and time is running out for the last swordmage and everyone she holds dear.

Book links here:
Volinette’s Song
Magic of Solendrea Book 4

 

Volinette Terris has everything most girls could want: a famous family, plenty of money, and a career as a talented musician. No one would expect her to risk losing it all to try and become a mage, but when the School of Sorcery opens for the Trial of Admission, that’s exactly what she does.

If only she’d known that winning a place in the Academy of Arcane Arts and Sciences would be the least of her problems. Now she finds herself accused of murder, tormented by her fellow students, and implicated in the theft of a mystical artifact that could bring about the end of the world.

And that’s just the first semester!

Book links here:
Quintessential Tales
Magic of Solendrea Book 5

Four Quintessential Novelettes Featuring the Heroes and Villains of Solendrea

Quintessential Tales, a Magic of Solendrea Anthology, brings together four new novelettes featuring the heroes and villains of Solendrea. Also included is the Adventurer’s Guide to Solendrea, which includes background information on famous faces and places, as well as some mythology and folklore.

Included in Quintessential Tales:

  • Warhorse – Being shipwrecked on a strange island is just the start of the dangers facing Royce and Torus.
  • If Wishes Were Horses – Twins stumble across an ancient temple in the middle of the wildlands that may not be what it seems.
  • Troubled Waters – Faxon and Gunter face off against new enemies and a treacherous old foe.
  • All Souls – Tiadaria and Adamon travel to Havenhedge to investigate a mysterious occurrence.
  • Adventurer’s Guide to Solendrea (Bonus) – Background information on famous faces and interesting places.

˃˃˃ Note from the Author

Please be aware that All Souls contains spoilers if you haven’t read the Swordmage Trilogy, particularly The Pegasus’s Lament. If you haven’t, I highly recommend that you read the original trilogy before reading All Souls.

 Book links here:
Pirates of the Siren’s Sea
Magic of Solendrea Book 6

What do you do when the people you trust the most betray you?

Tiadaria, the last Swordmage, was once one of the King’s most trusted advisers. Now she’s fallen out of favour and has been cast out of the realm she helped save from demons and dragons. When pirates start sinking ships off the coast of Dragonfell, Tiadaria offers her services to the realm, but the pride of Kings is not easily put aside.

Unwilling to let the Imperium fall, Tiadaria approaches the King’s only daughter, a reclusive Princess unseen by the people for almost two decades. What happens next is a race against time as Tiadaria and her allies commit an act of treason to stop a corrupt sorceress from endangering the fate of the world.

Only a Swordmage can turn an act of sedition into salvation for the Imperium in this rousing fantasy tale of swords and sorcery.

Book links here:

Martin F. Hengst is an American science-fiction and fantasy author. His bestselling Magic of Solendrea series has delighted more than a quarter of a million readers worldwide.

He writes the same type of books he loves to read: tales of science fiction and fantasy where anything can, and frequently does, happen. There’s nothing better than a rollicking good adventure and his number one priority as a writer is to be an amazing travelling companion for those intrepid explorers who pick up any of his books.

He lives in South Central Pennsylvania with his wife and two children. When he’s not working on the next book or story, he enjoys music, reading, and playing games.
He really like hearing from people who have enjoyed his books. Please don’t hesitate to connect with him on Twitter or Facebook. For the latest news and information about Martin and his  books, check out his  website at: http://martinfhengst.com.


Connect with Martin here:
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive content and a giveaway!
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Book Tour: An Arrow Against the Wind by P.H. Solomon

An Arrow Against the Wind
The Bow of Hart Saga: Book 2
by P.H. Solomon
Genre: Epic Fantasy

Haunted by his past. Hunted in the present. Buffeted like an arrow in the wind.

The hunt for the Bow of Hart continues for Athson and his companions.
They have escaped the clutches of Magdronu and Corgren, but they are
still pursued. In need of answers to deep mysteries revealed in
Chokkra, Athson must gain possession of the mythic bow to face both
his enemies and his tragic past. But Magdronu’s reach stretches among
Athson’s companions, endangering Limbreth and even Hastra in schemes
to entrap them all. With each turn of the search for the Bow of Hart,
long hidden secrets surface that threaten to destroy Athson. Will he
falter like an arrow against the wind?
 

“An Arrow Against the Wind is a wonderful follow-up to The Bow of
Destiny.” – Bookwraiths

“We have read more than a couple great books this year, and An Arrow
Against the Wind is surely among them.” – Fantasia Reviews

 Book links here:
 
The Bow of Destiny
The Bow of Hart Saga: Book 1
Haunted by his past. Hunted in the present. Uncertain what is real.
 
Athson has seen things that aren’t there and suffered fits since being
tragically orphaned as a child at the hands of trolls and Corgren the
wizard. When a strange will mentioning a mysterious bow comes into
his possession, he’s not sure it’s real. But the trolls that soon
pursue him are all too real and dangerous. And what’s worse, these
raiders serve Corgren and his master, the hidden dragon, Magdronu,
who are responsible for the destruction of his childhood home. Athson
is drawn into a quest for the concealed Bow of Hart by the mystic
Withling, Hastra, but Athson isn’t always sure what’s real and who
his enemies are. With Corgren and Magdronu involved, Athson must face
not only frequent danger but his grasp on reality and the reasons
behind his tragic past.
 
Book links here:
 
Free Prequel short stories to The Bow of Hart Saga:
Trading KnivesKobo, iBooks & Barnes
& Noble
, Smashwords and on Amazon

 

 
P. H. Solomon lives in the greater Birmingham, AL area where he strongly
dislikes yard work and sanding the deck rail. However, he performs
these duties to maintain a nice home for his loved ones as well as
the family’s German Shepherds. In his spare time, P. H. rides herd
as a Computer Whisperer on large computers called servers (harmonica
not required). Additionally, he enjoys reading, running, most sports
and fantasy football. Having a degree in Anthropology, he also has a
wide array of more “serious” interests in addition to working
regularly to hone his writing. The Bow of Destiny is his first
novel-length title with more soon to come.
 Connect with P.H. here:
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!
 
 
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Book Tour: The Bow of Destiny by P.H. Solomon

 
 
The Bow of Destiny
The Bow of Hart Saga: Book 1
by P.H. Solomon
Genre: Epic Fantasy
 
 
Haunted by his past. Hunted in the present. Uncertain what is real.
Athson has seen things that aren’t there and suffered fits since being
tragically orphaned as a child at the hands of trolls and Corgren the
wizard. When a strange will mentioning a mysterious bow comes into
his possession, he’s not sure it’s real. But the trolls that soon
pursue him are all too real and dangerous. And what’s worse, these
raiders serve Corgren and his master, the hidden dragon, Magdronu,
who are responsible for the destruction of his childhood home. Athson
is drawn into a quest for the concealed Bow of Hart by the mystic
Withling, Hastra, but Athson isn’t always sure what’s real and who
his enemies are. With Corgren and Magdronu involved, Athson must face
not only frequent danger but his grasp on reality and the reasons
behind his tragic past.
 
 

Arrows screeched by his head. “Arrows!” He hoped she heard. He kicked his gelding. It was labored though it ran hard.

They surged from the pursuit as more arrows whizzed past. Athson leaned low over his horse’s neck. Limbreth cried out in pain. The white mare slowed, and Athson’s horse overtook her and matched the mare’s pace.

He shouted over the noise of thundering hooves. “Where are you hurt?”

“Arm.” Limbreth gritted her teeth. Like a shadow, the dark arrow and blood trailed on her lighter clothing and soaked her left arm. They slowed and the trolls rushed closer. “Break it!” Limbreth snarled through gritted teeth. Her sword quivered as her arm lost strength.

He reached for the arrow as they slowed to a trot. He braced one hand against her as she leaned into him with a moan. With the other hand, he snapped off the feathered end of the arrow. He caught a glimpse of her face twisted in pain as he tore the arrow from her arm.

Trolls rushed closer and arrows sang death near them.

“Ride.” Limbreth’s weak voice countered the strength of her kicks to the mare’s flanks.

Athson trailed behind her. Harsh voices snarled ahead, and Limbreth’s horse thundered into more trolls. They screeched beneath the mare’s hooves. He sensed more trolls struggling out of the underbrush. Limbreth swayed in her saddle, but the mare galloped away.

Athson’s horse labored but followed. “Hang on!”

Tense moments passed, but the sight of lights hove into view away in the distance.

Athson urged the horse on, but it slowed and snorted. A groan of effort rolled from the gelding. Limbreth’s horse thundered on and she bobbed atop her mare.

Athson’s gelding broke pace altogether and slowed to a trembling stop. Athson dismounted, aware that trolls raced toward him. The horse collapsed, and he glimpsed several arrows sticking out of the gelding’s chest and lower neck. Blood gushed and stained its coat.

Trolls howled along the trail. Athson wheeled from the dying horse. They were too close. A few ill-aimed arrows whistled past him.

Athson hefted his sword against the fastest of the trolls. He slashed at kobolds and several fell amid spurting blood. Hobgoblins and bugbears leaped at him.

Spark jumped among them and tore out a throat. Athson gasped. The trolls leapt back, on-guard for what attacked them.

Limbreth’s white mare suddenly charged past him into the boiling mass of trolls. Bodies flew aside, and the trolls fell back in momentary confusion.

“Come on, vermin!” Limbreth’s horse stood exposing her good right arm. Her left arm still shook. The rising moon gleamed on her pale clothing, her swords and her white horse. She glimmered silver in the light.

The trolls hesitated.

“Cowards!” Limbreth charged into them.

Athson leapt over his horse with a wordless shout. He hacked and slashed at the nearest trolls. Limbreth pummeled with the hilt of her one usable sword and slashed at the trolls lunging at her.

 
Free Prequel short stories to The Bow of Hart Saga:
 

Trading KnivesKobo, iBooks & Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and on Amazon

 
 
 
 
 
P. H. Solomon lives in the greater Birmingham, AL area where he strongly
dislikes yard work and sanding the deck rail. However, he performs
these duties to maintain a nice home for his loved ones as well as
the family’s German Shepherds. In his spare time, P. H. rides herd
as a Computer Whisperer on large computers called servers (harmonica
not required). Additionally, he enjoys reading, running, most sports
and fantasy football. Having a degree in Anthropology, he also has a
wide array of more “serious” interests in addition to working
regularly to hone his writing. The Bow of Destiny is his first
novel-length title with more soon to come.
 

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Pinterest * Google+ * Wattpad * Amazon * Goodreads

 

Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Book Tour: Erinland by Kathryn Berryman

Erinland
by Kathryn Berryman
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Two troubled young adults find themselves key players in a deadly game
that spans the 21st century and the Viking Age.


Amy, finding it difficult to ‘fit in’, becomes increasingly obsessed
with the virtual reality game Erinland. The VR characters and the
mist of Erin begin to invade Amy’s dreams and her waking moments.
She finds herself drawn into Erinland in 9th century Ireland. Amy
becomes part of this mystical world as she joins in the struggle to
defeat the Viking raiders.
 
Richard has a complicated home life and feels he doesn’t belong anywhere. A
series of events finds him desperate and living on the streets, where
he finds himself dragged into 9th century Norway by a Viking warrior.
Richard finds acceptance with the Vikings and joins them on a
colonisation raid to Ireland.
 

The wind of the boglands howled, shrieking with the voices of tortured souls entwined with the steaming peat.

‘We must protect the chalice and the sacred writings!’ cried Niamh of the Golden Hair. The sound of her command­ing voice reduced the sound of the wailing wind to a frustrat­ed whisper. The woman wheeled her powerful steed around and galloped off towards the distant bog lights, leaving a flurry of mud in her wake.

The sign had come. Tadhg the great warrior knew that Niamh of the Golden Hair would only appear if the sacred relics were in danger of being destroyed and absorbed into the dark culture of the barbarians. He had to go to the Abbey and protect the sacred objects from defilement. A primal howl made him spin around to see the brutish face of his aggressor. Metal clashed against metal, war cries wailed, flesh and bone hacked until Tadhg fell on the battlefield.

‘AAARGH!’ Tadhg gasped, fighting for air as he sank to the ground, choking in the mire of mud and blood. Clasping his cleft sword, his breath came in ragged gasps then finally faded. Tadhg’s face and body contorted, shimmering as he slowly grew fainter and seeped into the boglands. It had been his battlefield and now it was his final resting place. A huge Viking towered over Tadhg, howling triumphantly. The howling continued until the whole scene faded to grey.

Niamh of the Golden Hair’s face popped onto the computer screen. Her serene voice came out of the speaker. ‘Erinland is at risk of disappearing. The chalice and writings have fallen victim to the barbarous Vikings. You have lost another incarnation. Be careful, small one.’

Amy grabbed the sides of the computer screen and shook it savagely. ‘Bloody hell, this virtual reality world is driving me crazy! I’ve lost another incarnation. Useless Irishmen, no wonder the Vikings invaded them. Stupid bloody Vikings, stupid Tadhg! Sacred objects? Yeah right, Niamh of the Golden Hair. What a load of horse crap! Tadhg needs a good kick up his hairy butt.’

‘Amy Bradshaw, stop that language at once! What do you think you’re playing at? I do my best to raise you to be a lady! Why do you think I send you to that expensive private school? Not to learn language like that! You’re a disgrace. When is the last time you brushed your hair? This bedroom is a garbage dump!’ The last word came out as a hiss.

Amy jumped at the sound of her mother’s voice. She thought her mother was in the kitchen washing up after dinner, totally out of earshot.

Amy’s mother continued with the tirade as Amy cringed on the bed. ‘Anyway, you are supposed to be doing your homework, not surfing the net. You’re banned from the computer for a week, it is only to be used for homework. Oh, and I’ll be super­vising you, so don’t get any ideas!’ she exclaimed.

Amy had to think of something quickly. ‘But, Mum, this is homework. In History we are learning about Vikings and how they were forced to migrate and invade other lands. It’s really interesting. We have to research their culture, art, and craftsmanship and what influence it had on the places they conquered,’ cried Amy. ‘I was researching,’ she added, trying to sound as indignant as possible.

Amy’s mother looked at her suspiciously. ‘Researching?’ she said a little more calmly. ‘Then why did I hear all that yelling and screaming?’

Amy thought she could sense a crack in her mother’s armour. She decided to weave a bit of truth into the lies—half-truths usually had a ring of plausibility to them.

‘Well … We have to go onto a virtual reality site to give us a hands-on view of life in Viking times. We make a village and even get to design our own Celtic jewellery!

On the virtual reality site, we learn how to simulate Viking warriors sparring with each other. I was yelling at the warriors fighting!’ she said.

‘You know about this, Mum! Mr Lord gave us the website details in our history class today, and I gave you the permis­sion note last week. Remember? Anyway, you can ring him if you don’t believe me.’ Amy uttered these last words in an almost accusing tone.

Her mother’s expression softened, slightly. ‘Oh, I see. Well … I suppose if it’s for school … But you know, I might just contact that Mr Lord. This research seems to be encouraging a bit too much passion in you. Now get to bed before I change my mind, and don’t forget to clean your teeth.’

Amy snapped off the computer and stomped off to the bathroom. At least she had fooled her mother into thinking that she was concentrating on her school work, which couldn’t be further from the truth. And she could still play Erinland without her mum knowing what she was doing. I could even buy one of those VR headsets to make the game more real. I bet Mum wouldn’t even work out that I had it! I wonder … She would probably find out sooner or later but it would be worth it, Amy thought absently as she spat the slimy residue of toothpaste and saliva down the sink.

She rinsed her mouth and splashed her face with cold water, staring hard at her reflection in the bathroom mirror. It wasn’t a bad face. Not too pretty, but not too ugly either. She imagined herself in ancient Erin fighting at Tadhg’s side, away from the bitchy girls at school with their bitchy texting and sniggering behind their hands. School. God, Amy hated school. School, no way! But talking to gods and minor deities? Protecting ancient manuscripts and chalices from the Raiders? She could live with that. She might even be a goddess herself! Niamh of the Golden Hair? No … Amy of the Spotty PJs! Yep, that would be fun. No bullying, no one to nag me to death, and I wouldn’t even have to clean my teeth, she silently told her smiling reflection.

‘Night, Mum,’ Amy called out.

‘Night, Amy. Lights off, straight to sleep now,’ replied her mother, almost back to her normal self. Amy was tempted to wait until the house was quiet and play online again, but contented herself with the major win over her mum. She had to admit that she was becoming a bit obsessed with the virtual reality world. At least in Erinland she had some control. In her ‘real’ life she had no control. She didn’t have any friends. Not even one. The ‘lovely private school girls’, as her mother called them, were proper cows.

Her fascination for the virtual reality game was starting to worry her though. Not only was it taking up all her spare waking moments, but she was starting to dream about it too. The mists of Erin were invading her slumber. Tadhg spoke to her, whispering of the beauty of ancient Erin. His voice was like a bubbling stream, hypnotic and fresh, but it had an underlying strength that commanded respect. The words he spoke weaved a tapestry of images of the heroism of battle and the struggle to save the holy relics from the barbarians.

As Amy jumped into bed and pulled the doona up to her chin, she didn’t notice the dark shadows gathering in the corner of the bedroom. She switched off the bedside lamp and closed her eyes. Her mind was still racing, an adrenalin high, mentally logging past fatal mistakes and planning future strat­egies for her next session in Erinland.

God! Why can’t I sleep? she moaned to herself. Oh well, I’ll have to say some prayers, that always puts me to sleep. She sighed deeply and started to pray, mouthing the words absent-mindedly. But her mind was still awash with thoughts of ancient Ireland, craggy mountains covered in moss and mist, and boglands, full of treacherous sinkholes and mystical beings. She found herself praying to the Holy Bogg Demon and Our Tadhg instead of the usual Christian deities. Finally, she drifted off to sleep. She was in Erinland, dreaming of the moist, green land and the heroes that fought and died for their cause.

Then a curious thing happened. The shadows in the corner of her room began to gather and become a dense black mass drifting slowly towards her bed. It exuded a pungent smell. The scent was intoxicating, causing her to sink into a deeper slumber. A draught stole its way through the open window, bringing a heavy mist into her bedroom. The mist twisted with the shadows, creating an energy that was concen­trating itself above Amy’s sleeping form. She stirred slightly in her sleep, as if she sensed another presence.

Sensuously, swirling tendrils of mist played around Amy’s feet, massaging her like hundreds of tiny pulsating fingers. They beckoned with a silken touch and oppressive sweetness to slide into the suffocating decay of the boglands. She felt herself being wooed by an unseen presence. Heavy blackness descended and she felt herself being sucked into the soft, moist peat. She waited, not daring to breathe.

‘Follow me,’ the fetid gurgle bubbled up from the depths of the bog, making Amy’s head swim. There were other sounds too. Guttural voices and desolate moaning swished around the room making her feel nauseous. ‘Follow me,’ intoned the voice, as old and enduring as granite, yet with enough venom to become a deadly, scorching lava. The compulsion to obey was almost overpowering. Yet fighting deep within Amy’s psyche was a strong urge to reject the evil command and to emerge out of the blackness into the clean, bright light.

The fear and desolation she felt was tightening its grip. Gone was the sensuous feeling of massage; now all she could feel were icy fingers grasping at her neck and torso pulling her down into the bog. The guttural voices became louder, drowning out all other sounds, making her blind with fear. Amy violently shook her head trying to rid herself of the evil sensation but the movement increased the demon’s hold on her.

A vague speck appeared in the distance, something resem­bling a light. Amy concentrated on the light and tried to block out the voices. She continued to concentrate, trying to force away the panic that shrouded her. She repeated to herself, ‘Look at the light, the light is my salvation.’ These words became a kind of prayer as she repeated them constantly.

Gradually, the tendrils of mist and the icy fingers lessened their hold. Amy chanted the words louder and with every fibre of her being. Finally the grip became a grasp, then it vanished. The voices trailed off, dissolving into an eerie wind—the catchcry of the boglands. A shrill sound, like the neigh of a horse, lingered then died away. Amy thought she heard the sound of a horse galloping in the distance.

She opened her eyes. Her face and body were dripping from the exertion of her experience. She got out of bed for a drink of water and it was then she noticed something strange. A faint glow emitting from the corner of her bedroom. It was coming from her laptop. The glow started blinking in a staccato rhythm, gaining brightness. Amy stared hypnotically into the strobe. The glow grew larger and brighter. An elec­tronic surge overflowing from the monitor and onto the floor. The tide edged its way across the carpet and came to rest at Amy’s feet. It started to rise from the floor, undulating and pulling, crashing against itself like a deadly rip in the ocean. Gradually the atoms composed themselves into the recognis­able form of an old woman.

The old woman looked like those Amy had seen on park benches, the kind that carried all their belongings in a couple of shopping bags. They were usually dirty, drunk, and abusive. This woman was approximately 160 cm tall; her hair was dark brown and it seemed to be caked in mud and dead leaves. Her skin was grey and very lined. Her unblinking eyes were dark brown. She stared at Amy steadily. The woman wore a simple brown tunic. It was well worn and patched in several places. Her hands were large and her nails were ragged and putrid. These hands had seen some very hard work in their time. She had an overall earthy smell, giving the impression of an ancient relic. For one so dishevelled, the old woman seemed to radiate a strength which commanded respect from those in her presence.

‘Oh … my … god … shit!’ yelled Amy.

‘Be still! You shall not profane the higher power in my presence! Profane with your tongue no more, lest you block your path to the highest power,’ replied the old woman. ‘Ditto what I said before. Who are you?hissed Amy.

The old woman spoke, ‘Do not be afraid, small one. You are not in the land of the walking shadows. Your destiny weighs heavier than that. I am Heiran, Cailleach, or wise old woman.

‘I am old. I am as old as the earth, and older than mankind. I have come in many forms and returned many times through the ages. I have been ridiculed and even killed in ignorance, yet all who have known me have been made richer by my passing.’

The old woman’s clear eyes continued to stare into Amy’s. They bored into her thoughts, exposing her soul. Amy franti­cally backed towards the bedroom door. ‘Mum!’ Amy yelled. ‘Mum, Mum, Mum!’ Amy thought she might be asleep or hallucinating. She had heard of this sort of thing happening before. Her friend at school had a psychotic episode after taking some illicit drugs. She thought she could see spiders coming out of the walls. She ended up curling herself in a ball in the corner of the classroom screaming. But Amy had never touched any kind of drugs.

‘Your mother can’t hear you,’ said the old woman.

‘Mum! Mum, please come, I need you, I am so scared!’ Amy screamed.

‘Your mother cannot hear you,’ the old woman said calmly. ‘She has not been chosen by the Niamh of the Golden Hair. She is to remain on this earthly plane.’

Amy winced at the mention of the name ‘Niamh of the Golden Hair’. An unbelievable thought occurred to her. ‘No … no,’ she whispered.

Amy looked more closely at the woman. Bloody hell, this old bag is straight from the virtual reality world! Thinking quickly, she lunged towards her laptop and snapped off the ower switch. The computer sputtered, the light extinguish­ing with a visual ‘pop!’ Amy turned, satisfied that she was once again by herself.

Heiran stood peering at Amy with a quizzical expres­sion. She wasn’t going anywhere. ‘Child, why did you still the droning creature? Killing the droning creature will not rid you of me. It is a portal to Erinland. Do not be foolish, small one! I have come to you for a purpose. I am the messenger of Niamh of the Golden Hair. She is the mystical mistress and hand­maiden of the highest power. She has sought you out. Your strength is known to the Lady. She has witnessed your battle with the evil Bogg Demon. You have been tested and have overcome its tempting advances. You have proven your worth to the Lady. The darkness in your soul has succumbed to the clean brightness of the highest power, this time.’

Amy stood still, disbelief washing over her. She wondered how the old woman, the Cailleach as she called herself, knew about the nightmare she just had. Her skin crawled at the memory of the stinking, suppurating bog; the invisible icy fingers clutching and dragging her down into a world of darkness and evil. An involuntary shudder racked her body.

The old woman continued, ‘Tadhg the great and noble war chieftain is closely acquainted with you. You and the droning creature have sent him to his death many times by the steel of the Vikings’ blade. Now he has come to his last incarnation. If he dies and the sacred relics fall victim to the barbarians a final time, our way of worship and our way of life as we know it will be drowned in a black tide of paganism.

‘The holy objects must be saved and hidden, so that future generations can realise the dedication of the faithful. Their beauty must be emulated and revered as a mere shard of the glory of the highest power—that which you call God. Even now there is another from your world who is being wooed by the Raiders. Time is running short!’ cried the old woman.

‘But it’s only a stupid virtual reality world, it’s not real. It’s not my fault!’ Amy cried. She ran across the room and reached for the door handle. Heiran raised her hand. From her stubby dirt-grained fingertips came a light so dazzling that Amy’s eyes watered trying to fight the glare. The light sparked, crackled, and twisted past her to the door handle where it fastened itself—a supernatural forcefield that no human could break.

Be still! You cannot run from your fate. Face your destiny, lest it follow you until the end of your incarnations, festering and growing like a great mortal wound. The highest power will buoy you and deliver you to your fate.’ The dark eyes bored through Amy, compelling her to obey the Cailleach.

Amy put out a tentative hand. She brushed Heiran’s hand with her fingertips. Vibrant, glowing warmth flowed from the Cailleach, swamping Amy’s body. The force sent her body into spasms as her heartbeat quickened, blood pounding in her ears. She squeezed her eyes shut and cried out for her mother.

‘Amy? Amy, is that you? I thought I heard you calling.’ The far-off reedy voice of her mother tried to puncture the veil of energy with intermittent stabs. Amy tried to speak. When she opened her mouth, nothing came out. She could hear her mother speak again but her voice trailed off.

Then the blackness came. Amy was sucked and pummelled through a tunnel of rushing air as though in the slip-stream of some giant racing force. The air was dry and electric and Amy could feel sparks fly from every shaft of hair on her body.

Gradually, the wind died down and she thudded onto her back into a soft, mushy surface. Amy opened her eyes. Directly above her was the majestic form of a white stallion. Its barrel chest overshadowed her as it snorted and pawed at the ground, spraying tiny smuts of peat into Amy’s face. Steam rose from the beast’s body as he danced and wheeled, eyes rolling back and ears flattening against his head, shrieking a terrified neigh. Just below his forelock in the middle of his forehead was a protrusion that looked like a horn. Amy had heard of the fabled unicorn and its magical powers. She realised she was face to face with a legend. Well almost face to face. She dragged herself out of the mud and shook off the bog water, evading the powerful thrashing hoofs of the unicorn.

‘Greetings, small one.’ The musical voice came from atop the unicorn. Amy gazed at the dazzling brightness and saw a lovely woman astride her steed. Her face had the translu­cent glow of a deity, and her skin was unlined and beautiful. A crown of gold was on her head. A halo of golden tresses wound around her head and trailed down her back. She was dressed in a flowing garment of mauve silk which was richly decorated with intricate gold and silver constellations. The garment fell around her and trailed to the ground. The Lady looked not much older than Amy herself, but her eyes beheld a wisdom and grace belonging to an ageless soul.

The Lady sat effortlessly atop her substantial steed, con­trolling it with a subtle movement of a leg, a gentle verbal command, or the brush of a hand. Amy could see no tack whatsoever on this ‘horse’ and stood in awe at the Lady’s obvious power and control over it.

The Lady spoke, ‘They call me ‘Niamh of the Golden Hair’. My messenger, Heiran, has transported you here with the help of the ultimate power. She has performed her task well. She has other duties. She will leave us now.’ Amy turned to see that the old woman was gradually fading to grey, dissi­pating into the atmosphere. A faint smile played on Heiran’s lips and then she was gone. ‘Please don’t leave me,’ Amy pleaded. ‘I need you to get home!’ Her eyes darted from side to side, taking in her surroundings like a trapped animal. A feeling of panic was rising from the pit of her stomach, causing her throat to constrict. She realised she was in boglands, probably in ancient Ireland … straight from the virtual reality world, in Erinland … oh shit!

The large, spongy, and uneven surface of the bog looked treacherous to the uninitiated. Amy could see small bodies of water, sinkholes, between the drier hummocks. She saw tracks made from planks of wood and thin branches meandering their way across the soggy mass. Amy wondered what they were for. She wondered if she should run away. Where would she go? How could she get home? She was cold and covered in bog water and a bloody great unicorn was standing over her. ‘Shit! Shit! Shit!’ she hissed.

The Lady’s voice demanded her full attention. ‘Are you willing to help regain the sacred objects from the barbar­ians and transport them to a safe place, yet to be ordained? The war chieftain Tadhg is depending upon you. You are responsible for his last incarnation. He is a fearless warrior with unmatched integrity and the will to lead his followers to victory. It is written that one will come with strength to match that of our greatest warrior and together they will lead us to victory and cleanse Erinland of the barbarous intruders. I believe you are the one,’ said the Lady.

‘Amy of the droning creature,’ she continued, ‘behold your brother, Tadhg, who is bound to your soul.’ Slowly, the Lady spread out her arms. Gradually, a shimmering mist rose from the bog. The mist moved, darting in front of Amy’s face making her eyes smart. The mist increased in size, brightness, and form to become a tangible, living, breathing human being.The young man now standing before Amy was shorter than some boys in her class at school, but he boasted a powerful physique. He had long, thick, curly black hair which was held at bay by a piece of leather thonging tied around his forehead. His neck was thick and powerful and his muscles rippled as he shrugged his body, stretching his limbs like a beautiful butterfly emerging from a chrysalis.

Tadhg was dressed for battle. Covering his body was unusual armour. It was cloth, but it was stiffened with a tar or a pitch-like substance. The armour was padded and layered to absorb the shock of the heavy weapons of his foe. Amy could see the slashes and dents in the surface as if it had been bludgeoned with some heavy instrument, wielded by someone with incred­ible force. In his hand Tadhg held a heavy sword that looked sharp and lethal but well worn, as if it had hacked many a limb and thirstily let litres of blood from the veins of its opponents.

Tadhg spoke, ‘Amy of the droning creature, I know you well. Come forward and witness your handiwork. My body is young but well used and greatly scarred. See the great wound that my enemy hath wrought. This is the wound that would claim me for the land of the walking shadows. See how it grows and festers, as our enemy’s reign over this fair land. Will you let them plunder and kill all in their path, or will you draw on your deep well of strength and aid me and my followers?

‘Answer me. The evil forces are gathering power. The Bogg Demon grows restless, there is one from your land who is being wooed by it. Hasten with your answer, little sister, time is very short.’

‘No!’ Amy screamed, shaking her head. ‘I don’t want to be here anymore, please let me go home! I don’t believe this is happening! I really do not believe this is happening. Please, let me go!After a long silence Tadhg continued bitterly, ‘Make no mistake, little sister, this is no dream. This is real. You are here. By your rebuff you have foresworn me to eternal damnation. My soiled soul will never know true fulfilment. I can never attain the pure white light or see my father’s face. With your turning away, I have failed the task appointed me. The sacred objects and all they stand for are lost forever,’ he gasped.

A look of pain crossed Tadhg’s battle-stained face. ‘Aahh, the burning, it begins again. My wound is growing. See the gore rising, ready to burst forth from the banks of my flesh. I feel myself slipping … slipping into the land of the walking shadows. Alas, I have failed! The Bogg Demon awaits my soul for eternal torture. Farewell, Amy of the droning creature, my death be on your head. Farewell my Lady, Niamh of the Golden Hair,’ he whispered.

Amy watched as Tadhg writhed in agony. The great wound gushed blood and putrefied; hundreds of tiny maggots crawled in it, feasting on his flesh. The stench stung Amy’s nostrils as she felt the bile rise in her throat. It was as if the cycle of decay had hit the fast forward button as Tadhg’s body disintegrated before her. She knew that she was witnessing something real, something she apparently had control over. She wanted desperately to stop it. ‘My Lady!’ Amy screamed. ‘Please help me!’

The Lady looked steadily at Amy. ‘Are you resolved to assume this task appointed you and help the noble war chieftain?’ she said.

‘Yes, yes, I’ll do anything, just make it stop!’ Amy cried.

The Lady slowly replied, ‘It is up to you to halt the cycle, child. Listen with your heart and you will know the answer.’

Tadhg, close to death, had fallen into the mud succumb­ing to the loss of blood and the bitterness of his failure. His life force was barely hanging on. Amy could hear a dull roar building up in the distance. It seemed to be resonating in the depths of the bog. She instinctively realised that the Bogg Demon was gathering force, ready to usurp and conquer Tadhg’s soul.

She concentrated inwards, blotting out the horror that was before her. But there was no answer, only the sound of her terrified heart. Amy concentrated harder. She was close to despair when a voice inside her head said, ‘Look to the bog. A herb growing at your feet is Tadhg’s salvation. It is the herb used by the druids, it will restore the war chieftain.’ Amy fran­tically grabbed for the plant at her feet. As she ripped the roots from the sodden peat, she noticed that the herb was bathed in a bright light giving off a brilliant, shining, living aura. A beautiful chant, more like a prayer, came drifting from the air around her:

All hail thou holy herb vervain

Growing on the ground

On the Mount of Calvary

There thou was found

Thou helpeth many a grief

And staunchest many a wound

In the name of sweet Jesu

I lift thee from the ground.

Amy stood up, a bunch of the herb clutched in her right hand. Her strength and confidence seemed to return, getting stronger by the moment as she held the holy herb. ‘Game on!’ she muttered to herself, and then turned to the Lady. ‘Let’s see how far this stuff gets Tadhg in his last incarnation!’

Kathryn is a Sydney author whose interest in history and mythology was the
catalyst for her debut novel Erinland to become a reality.


An adventure in the modern and ancient world, where the central
characters seek acceptance and self-belief, the ‘players’ in
Erinland find themselves in very different roles from their everyday
life. Choices they make could mean the difference between life and
death, with the consequences of these decisions reaching into their
‘real’ lives.
 
Written in the Fantasy genre, Book I bridges the ages, drawing on
contemporary life and 9th Century history to create an authentic
experience for the reader. A visual writer, she explores the
mythologies of ancient Norway and Ireland, giving a tangible view of
everyday life and the impact of the Gods in these two
cultures.
 
Kathryn is married with three beautiful daughters. Amidst busy family life,
she studied at University to become a Primary school teacher. When
she is not teaching, she loves to write and dabble in other creative
pursuits such as painting and drawing. She and her husband hope to
realise their dream and move to the country one day – soon.
 
 
Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!
 
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Book Tour: Dragonhunters by Garon Whited

Dragonhunters
by Garon Whited
Genre: Epic Fantasy

You don’t become a hero for the money. The money’s nice, sure, but you become a hero because something inside compels you, drives you to it. Defending people from monsters simply doesn’t pay well enough to make it a good career move.

As for hunting dragons… well, the money is usually good, but the job really bites.

A group of five professional heroes goes into the lair of the dragon. Who will win?

Spoiler: The dragon.

But it turns out killing a hero sometimes does nothing more than make him even more determined.

Sometimes, heroes are never more dangerous than when they’re dead!

Book links here:

Garon Whited was supposedly born in either 1969 or 1970; the original birth certificate is suspiciously unavailable and other records do not agree. 
After spending some years in college playing with computers, he finally joined a radical group of jellyfish herding nomads. Having fought zombie dolphins, quasi-corporeal spirits, and brain-sucking mole rats, he is uniquely qualified to write fantastic fiction. His subsequent attempts at professional salsa repairman and ley line salesman met with similar success. He claims to live in Texarkana, on Earth, but people have been known to disagree.

Connect with Garon here:

 
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Book Tour: Benediction Denied by Elizabeth Engstrom

Benediction Denied
A Labyrinth of Souls Novel
by Elizabeth Engstrom
Genre: Epic Fantasy

While hydrologist Adam Swan is engaged in humanitarian efforts to bring water to a small, isolated village in the Congo, he is kidnapped by rebel thugs and thrown into a makeshift prison. He is left to die—or worse—if his ransom is not paid. In a surprising series of events, Adam escapes his brutal captors into an underground labyrinth where reality and sanity no longer rule.

Armed with a limited amount of magic which he does not understand, he survives by employing it boldly, recklessly, desperate to return to the village above, homesick for Minnesota and normal life with his wife and daughters.

Tested to the extreme limits of his endurance, Adam navigates the labyrinth with only the company of his past behavior, the baffling magic, and the seductive temptation to succumb to the mysterious and merciless gods of the underworld. The consequences of his actions, past present, and future, take him to the brink of death—and beyond.

A fun, fast, thrilling ride by veteran author Elizabeth Engstrom, inspired by Matthew Lowes’ Dungeon Solitaire: Labyrinth of Souls card game.

Book links here:

–If you buy the paperback, you will receive the ebook free!–
 
 

Jolmy frequently spoke of the dark magic and its connection to the underworld. Adam listened with half an ear as Jolmy talked about the underworld gods.

“There is one big one. One big guy,” Jolmy said. “He is the king of the underworld.”

Adam kept working, cementing PVC pipe joints together.

He didn’t approve of that talk, didn’t believe in magic or underworld dark gods, and didn’t particularly want Jolmy and his family to be telling these tales to his girls.

“He like white meat,” Jolmy said, and then laughed. “He would eat you for a snack.” He cut another length of pipe, checked the plans laid out on a sheet of plywood on sawhorses, and measured it again, just to be sure.

“Superstition,” Adam countered.

“He has helpers. A queen and servants. Plenty servants to do his dirty work. They torment. Torment is what they do.” Jolmy stopped sawing and turned to look at Adam. “They rule the sun and the moon.”

“Now you know that’s not true.”

“Not this sun and moon. The underground has its own sun and moon. And stars. And Justice! Yes, oh yes, they have their own systems of justice. They would have such fun with you.”

Adam gave his best disapproving look.

Jolmy put his head back and laughed so hard he had to wipe his eyes. Then he went back to sawing pipe. “Yes, oh yes,” he said. “They would have such fun with you. You best stay above the ground.”

“I intend to.”

Elizabeth Engstrom is the author of fourteen books and has over 250 short stories, articles, and essays in print. She is a sought-after teacher and keynote speaker at writing conferences, conventions, and seminars around the  world. She has a BA in Literature/Creative Writing, and an MA in Applied Theology, both from Marylhurst University. Her most recent nonfiction book is How to Write a Sizzling Sex Scene, and her most recent novel is Baggage Check, a thriller. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her fisherman-husband and their dog where she is on the board of directors for Wordcrafters in Eugene. She teaches the occasional writing class, puts her pen to use for social justice, and is always working on her next book.

Connect with Elizabeth here:

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!
 
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Book Tour: The Last Wife of the Attila Hun by Joan Schweighardt

The Last Wife of Attila the Hun
by Joan Schweighardt
Genre: Epic Fantasy, Historical
Two threads are flawlessly woven together in this sweeping historical
novel. In one, Gudrun, a Burgundian noblewoman, dares to enter the
City of Attila to give its ruler what she hopes is a cursed sword;
the second reveals the unimaginable events that have driven her to
this mission. Based in part on the true history of the times and in
part on the same Nordic legends that inspired Wagner’s Ring Cycle
and other great works of art, The Last Wife of Attila the Hun offers
readers a thrilling story of love, betrayal, passion and revenge, all
set against an ancient backdrop itself gushing with intrigue.

 Book links here:

 —–
Joan Schweighardt is the author of five novels, and more on the way. In
addition to her own writing projects, she writes, ghostwrites, and
edits for individuals and corporations.
 

Connect with Joan here:

 —–
Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway
!
 
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Book Tour: Dragon Songs Saga by JC Kang

 Prelude to Insurrection

A Legends of Tivara Story
by JC Kang
Genre: Epic Fantasy, YA
 

Only an orphan half-elf spy can avert a rebellion before it starts.

 

 

Jie’s superior senses have made her the perfect lookout. Now, as the

adopted daughter of the Black Lotus Clanmaster, she wants to prove

her pointed ears aren’t a liability when she’s tasked to

infiltrate a rebel lord’s castle.

In this prequel to Songs of Insurrection, Jie must decide between her

duty to the emperor and her sense of compassion toward the

downtrodden. No matter her choice, it will have explosive

consequences for her, the realm, and the upcoming war.

**Free May 17th & 18th!!**

Book links here:

 —–

Songs of Insurrection

The Dragon Songs Saga Book 1
 

Only the lost magic of Dragon Songs can save the realm. Only a naïve girl

with the perfect voice can rediscover it.

 

 

Blessed with an unrivaled voice, Kaiya dreams of a time when music could

summon typhoons and rout armies. Maybe then, the imperial court would

see the awkward, gangly princess as more than a singing fool.

 

When members of the emperor’s elite spy clan uncover a brewing

insurrection, the court hopes to appease the ringleader by offering

Kaiya as a bride.

 

Obediently wedding the depraved rebel lord means giving up her music.

Confronting him with the growing power of her voice could kill her.

Book links here:

 —–

Orchestra of Treacheries

The Dragon Songs Saga Book 2
 

The mightiest dragon threatens the world, and only the power of a Dragon

Song can vanquish him.

 

 

Two years have passed since Kaiya rediscovered the lost magic of Dragon

Songs, yet the power of her voice is untrained. Potential suitors see

her as a stepping stone. One ruthless cousin would rather step on her

gravestone.

 

Not one to get walked over or buried, Kaiya is holding out for the exiled

foreign prince who inspired her to sing. The only one who appreciates

her abilities more is the world’s last dragon, Avarax, and it’s

not because he enjoys a good song.

 

Raw and unproven, she finds mentors in unlikely places. An elf courtier.

An ancient healer. A martial arts master. And an evil sorcerer.

She’ll need their guidance to survive the final showdown between a

girl finding her voice, and a dragon who has no intention of being

fooled a second time.

Book links here:

—–

Dances of Deception

The Dragon Songs Saga Book 3
 

An invincible empire threatens to invade Cathay, and only a Dragon Song

can ensure peace.

 

 

After vanquishing the Last Dragon with the power of her voice, all Kaiya

wants is a quiet life of anonymity. Instead, the Emperor sends her to

negotiate peace with the aggressive Teleri Empire.

 

The critical mission reunites her with her childhood friend Tian, now an

assassin-spy who loathes killing. He is no longer the adorable,

gullible boy from her memories, any more than she is the adventurous,

sweet girl from his. Instead of rekindling nostalgia for a youthful

innocence they both yearn for, their reunion ignites a mutual

hatred.

 

When the Teleri Empire breaks off talks, Tian must help Kaiya escape.

Orcs, Ogres, and enemy soldiers stand between them and home, and

their volatile relationship could get them captured… or killed.

Book links here:

 —–

Symphony of Fates

The Dragon Songs Saga Book 4
 

Kaiya escapes her ordeal at the hands of the Teleri Emperor, only to return

to a homeland beset by enemies on all sides, and crumbling from

within.

 

 

As a teenager, she quelled a rebellion with the Dragon Scale Lute. As a

young adult, she vanquished a dragon with the power of her

voice.

 

Now, robbed of her magic by grief, Kaiya must navigate a web of court

intrigue to save the realm before it falls. Only she can lay claim to

the Dragon Throne on behalf of her unborn sons—whether the father

is the lover who perished rescuing her, or the hated enemy who killed

him.

 

In the final story in Kaiya’s saga, she must rally a nation, repel

invaders, and prove to the world why her family alone holds the

Mandate of Heaven.

 

Book links here:

JC Kang’s unhealthy obsession with Fantasy and Sci-Fi began at an early

age when his brother introduced him to The Chronicles of Narnia, The

Hobbit, Star Trek and Star Wars. As an adult, he combines his geek

roots with his professional experiences as a Chinese Medicine doctor,

martial arts instructor and technical writer to pen epic fantasy

stories.

Connect with JC Kang here:

Follow the tour HERE!
 
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Book Tour: Y’Keta by Sandra Hurst

Y’Keta

The Sky Road Trilogy Book 1
by Sandra Hurst
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Banished. Cast out. Powerless.

Y’keta is exiled to the small village of Esquialt as his father’s punishment for his rebellious spirit. Village tradition gives him one Cycle, from spring to spring, to earn the right to stay.

The villagers have a legend about mighty beings called the Waki’tani, mythical lords of the wind and lightning who can shapeshift into human form. Y’keta knows the truth behind these stories. Could there be more to them than just tales shared around the campfire?

If Y’keta reveals what he knows to the villagers, it will tear their history and traditions apart…but sharing his secrets may be their only hope for survival when Esquialt is threatened by the brutal, ferociously destructive Utlaak.

Loosely based on the Thunderbird of North American legend, Y’keta is an epic fantasy set in an ancient world where legends walk and the Sky Road offers a way to the stars.

Book links:

There was a light fog on the north ridge that seemed to get thicker as I walked further from the village. The new Kit’na would be at the campfire tonight. I just hoped they would keep mother busy enough not to notice my absence. Uncle Pey’t was going to read the scroll of the Utlaak to the village, reminding themselves of the great danger of long ago. He would scowl at the ring of young faces around the campfire. They would stare back at him, half scared, half fascinated, as he told the tales of the enemy from Below.

It was here, he would remind them, that the last great battle in the war against the Under- dwellers, had ended. It was here when Esquialt was falling, its last warrior dead, that Surta, the Lord of the Waki’tani, the Sky People who flew between the earth and the Sky Lord’s Road, had appeared to drive the Utlaak back into their barrows. The Waki’tani knew this Village’s Road, Uncle Pey’t would growl. There were even rumours that at times they walked here cloaked as warriors.

I was so tired of that story. I had heard it every spring camp since I was old enough to sit at the campfire. They came. We beat them. They came again. We beat them again. Why did it have to be anything more?

The legends weren’t necessary, I thought. Why is it important to keep retelling the same dusty stories just to feed the imaginations of the hatchlings and comfort the egos of rambling old men?

The fog twined around the boles of the trees as I crawled in and out picking berries. It crept downhill and stretched its ephemeral talons towards the village. The afternoon had faded and the quick dusk of a spring night was falling. As the warmth of the day subsided, I pulled my shawl tighter around my shoulders. In the bush, I could hear crickets rubbing their legs together, their chirps slowing with the fog and wind. The ridge was steeper now, the black boles of the Aspens twisted and gnarled in the deepening twilight. I rubbed my arms as a chill breeze blew through the trees, and looked back down the valley to the camp below. I don’t remember coming so high or walking so far.

The fog carried the mouldy smell of the forest floor mixed with the nose-pinching bite of sweetgrass in bloom. Grabbing onto a thick aspen trunk, I pulled myself across the loose gravel scree on the hillside, following the strange fog up the ridge. Pebbles skittered down as I scrambled higher up on the sandstone ridge. They sounded much louder in the falling dark. I froze, hugging the damp, mottled bark of a twisted aspen until the sound faded and the faint noises of the forest restarted.

Hesitantly, I looked up the ridge. Though I squinted at it until my eyes ached, something in the shadows at the top of the ridge didn’t quite seem to fit with the oncoming night. Yes—right there, between that boulder and the ridge line. There was something that didn’t move, or should move, or something. It was just the wrong shape for a shadow.

The fog should have been thinner up here. It wasn’t. My throat felt tight as I swallowed nervously. My feet were heavy and less willing to move the higher I climbed. The fog climbed with me. I don’t believe in legends, I reminded myself. That’s why I’m here. I don’t believe the Utlaak wait in the dark or the Sky People steal you if you leave camp at night.

I finally reached the crest of the ridge and lay down shivering in the early spring moss. The damp vegetation soaked through my thick hide robe and chilled whatever courage I had left. What was I doing up here?

The fog flowed steadily toward the boulder where the black something hovered unmoving against the horizon. It wrapped around the twisted tree trunks and over my shoulders like a clammy stream; not still and airy the way fog should be, but always moving towards its ocean.

A scratching noise disturbed the forest silence. The shadow seemed to detach itself from the rock and extend itself to twice the height of one of the People. Great yellow eyes opened half-way up its body, swiveling backwards and forwards across the ridge. Sweat dripped down my face making my eyes sting as the creature carefully scanned my side of the ridge.

Breathing slowly just to keep myself from moving, I tried to see a form in the darkness. The rocks and soil under my fingernails felt hard and wet as my hands dug, attempting to find an anchor into the mulch; desperate for the reality of the cold frozen earth. Apparently unable to see anyone, the fierce eyes turned upwards for a moment, giving me time for a full, careful breath. A breath I abruptly lost as the amorphous shape seemed to split itself in two. Where the eyes had been was now the shape of a head with massive wings stretched out to each side.

The Waki’tani aren’t real, I boggled, this isn’t real! I’ve hit my head on a rock or a tree stump, and I’m unconscious; just lying here in the dirt.

Carefully pulling one hand to my side, I ran it over my wet braids checking for blood or bumps on my head, then I touched it to my chest feeling the reality of my own racing heart. I looked at the bird-shaped thing again.

The raven creature stood looking down at the village. Its wings spread wide in the darkness, blocking out the stars who were twinkling everywhere else in the frosty sky. Overhead, the Sky Road appeared, a million points of light showing the way to the Elder Stars.

The Waki’tani turned its head. I swallowed in fear as the great beak snapped at a passing thought. With a last look at the village and a noise somewhere between a human sigh and a raven’s caw, it soared into the sky. For a few seconds, I could only watch as the creature disappeared into the distance, then, noticing the fog seemed to be evaporating as the creature departed, I scrambled from the ridge line into the cover of the lower bushes.

Clinging to the bole of a knotty pine tree, I tried to rebuild my world. It was a much larger, much scarier place than it seemed when I left camp a few hours ago. It was real, how can I tell them, it’s all real!

(Siann; Y’keta – The Sky Road Trilogy, Book 1

Hi, my name is Sandra Hurst and I’m the author of the Sky Road fantasy series.

As a child in England, stories and legends surrounded me, I learned how important imagination was. When I was 8, we moved to northern Canada and the legends changed. Stories of the Fae and the little people were replaced by legends of the Thunderbird and stories of the woodlands.

I never stood a chance.

What could I be but a writer?

Growing up in Northern Alberta gave me a great love and respect for the wild lands and indigenous cultures which made its way into the worlds I create. A mythmaker at heart, I started writing poetry in middle school and graduated to epic fantasy.

My first book, Y’keta, is loosely based on the Thunderbird of North American legend, Y’keta is a Young Adult, high fantasy set in an ancient world where legends walk and the Sky Road offers a way to the stars.

I now live in Calgary, Alberta with my husband and son, both of whom I love dearly, and have put up for sale on e-bay when their behaviour demanded it.  My day to day life is a balance between my outside life as a paralegal counsellor and my inner life as an author/poet. In between, I work on improving my writing, studying the Cree Language and aboriginal history, writing book reviews, and blogging on my website.

Connect with Sandra here:

Follow the tour HERE!
 
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Book Tour: Beneath the Silver Rose by T.S. Adrian

Beneath the Silver Rose
Shadyia Ascendants Book 1
by T.S. Adrian
Genre: Epic Fantasy, Romance
Forbidden Romance in an Age of Veiled Magic!
When Shadyia, a courtesan of the Silver Rose, violates the tenets of the
Sisterhood, she is commanded by her madam to appease an order of
vicious crusaders by seducing a powerful magician masquerading as a
wealthy scholar.
Caught between an ancient conflict of Order and Chaos, Shadyia and her
companions must descend beneath the Silver Rose into a labyrinth of
deadly traps and shadowy guardians. For only there can she defy the
crusaders who threaten her sorority and avert the prophecy of a
darkness that returns to consume the world.
The Penance of Pride
Shadyia Ascendants Book 2
Shadyia’s Adventure Continues!
‘I will never leave you, and I will always come for you.’
Shadyia’s vow to her lover is put to the test when the Innocenti rise and
envelope the sisterhood she adores.
As the magician she aided hunts for the path to an ancient city, the new
madam of the Silver Rose strives to please the evil that has
promised, upon its freedom, to make her a queen.
Meanwhile, the adviser to the Innocenti prepares the final stage of his strategy
to crush the faith of the old gods. He needs but a bit of magic to
carry out his ultimate plan.
Magicians. Zealots. Madams. Whores. It’s all the same to he who waits within
the enchanted box. Soon he will unleash his servants, and every
horror of the abyss will once again consume humanity.

Aaron stopped the cart and jumped off. He walked to the back, gathered up Janell and carried her to the gate. Benjamin raced him there and franticly rang the bell. The minutes that followed passed in a blur of activity. Guardian sisters escorted them in, calling for Mrs. Amber, the palace physician. Sisters cried out as they saw Janell. The word spread and soon a crowd of weeping, angry or shocked women gathered round. Sleepy-eyed Mrs. Amber appeared and ordered them back. She asked Aaron to carry Janell to the nearest bed, a pleasure room off the west wing. Allowing only two assistants to follow, she placed guardians outside the door and told everyone else to wait.

The doors to White Hall flew open and Makayla stormed through with Thoria—as always—close on her heels.

“Who brought her?” The madam’s voice silenced the chamber.

Aaron stepped forward. “I did.”

The fury drained from Makayla’s face. “I see.” She smoothed her black dress. “What happened?”

“Innocenti raped and tortured her,” Aaron replied evenly.

Makayla’s long black hair covered half her face as she tilted her head. “Unfortunate.”

Shadyia’s fists tightened at her side. “Unfortunate? That’s all you have to say?”

“No, Sister Shadyia, that’s not all I have to say. We will tend to Sister Janell’s wounds as best we can. In the morning, I will prepare a letter of complaint against the Innocenti and have it delivered to the magistrate. They will see those who committed these acts are brought to justice.” Makayla turned and walked toward the audience, her heels clicking.

Shadyia allowed her a few steps. Not so fast, bitch. “Maybe they’ll start with you.”

Deresi, the sisters, guardians, Benjamin and Aaron stood as statues as Makayla halted. She rounded on Shadyia. “Watch your tongue, Sister, or I will have it removed.”

Shadyia’s rage coiled like a serpent about to strike. If she had kept the blacksteel sword and not hidden it in the wagon, they’d be cleaning Makayla’s blood off the walls and floor for a week. “Give that command and I will kill you and any who try to carry it out.”

Thoria drew her baton and advanced on Shadyia. Aaron rushed forward and intercepted the blond guardian with his body.

“Madam, please call away your guard.”

“Thoria, step back.”

Her scowl locked on Shadyia, Thoria obeyed.

Makayla put her hands on her hips, her long sleeves hanging down. “Speak your mind, Sister. Why do you say such a thing?”

“If you hadn’t sent Janell to the Kaolins, she wouldn’t have sought refuge with the Innocenti.”

“And if she had carried out my command, none of this would have happened. What sort of fool asks the Innocenti for anything?”

“The sort that cannot see them for what they are,” Shadyia replied. “The sort that thinks they are knights from a fairy tale. The sort that talks about joining them—” She leveled her finger. “—as you knew perfectly well!”

Makayla huffed. “You dare accuse me of deliberately driving Janell to the Innocenti?”

“I do.”

Benjamin spoke up. “She didn’t go to the Innocenti. She came to me last night.”

Makayla pivoted toward him. “And who are you?”

“I am Aaron’s apprentice, Benjamin.”

Her hazel eyes moved from him to Aaron and back. “So how did she end up with the Innocenti?”

Benjamin looked to Aaron, who shook his head once.

“We got separated in the city this morning.” The young man dropped his gaze.

Makayla faced Shadyia. “And do you also blame me for this, Sister?”

“I do not,” Shadyia replied. Damn the boy and his honesty.

“The hour is late and our nerves are raw,” Aaron said. “Madam, please take the finest care of Janell. I will personally cover any expense.”

“Consider it done.”

“Madam,” Benjamin said, getting her attention, “may I stay with Janell?”

Makayla sighed. “That will be up to Mrs. Amber, but we will prepare a room for you in any case.”

“Thank you, Madam.”

Aaron stepped near to Shadyia and lowered his voice. “Why don’t you and Deresi come with me to Featherquill?”

The dying rage in Shadyia still seethed, but she looked to Deresi. Did she want to visit Featherquill? Deresi nodded in agreement.

Aaron turned back to Makayla. “Madam, may I have the pleasure of both Sister Shadyia and Sister Deresi this night?”

Makayla raised an eyebrow. “You wish them both, sir?”

“I have lots to celebrate.”

“These sisters look disheveled and exhausted, sir. May I ask how they came to be in this state?”

Shadyia glanced at Aaron. He mustn’t mention the labyrinth or—

“It’s my fault, Madam,” Aaron said. “We played a game in some ruins beyond the forest. I wanted Sister Shadyia to hide and I would search for her. Sister Deresi was concerned when her friend didn’t return and found us this morning. I invited her to play and…well, things got out of hand. My apologies.”

“None needed, Master Aaron. The coin you’ve offered more than pays for their services. But, do you not wish them bathed, perfumed and properly dressed before they leave with you?”

Aaron glanced at Shadyia and Deresi. “To be honest, Madam, I rather like them in this state and I’m not yet finished with them. By your leave, I will take them as they are.”

The Shadyia Ascendant Book Series is the kind of fantasy book I wanted to
read, but could never find. Sexy, powerful, positive.
The heroes are beaten, but are never broken.
Although this is a medieval setting (more or less 15th century Renaissance),
the characters don’t scratch at fleas and trug through the book
ass-deap in mud and blood and disease. I’m sure all that is
accurate, but I never wanted to read about it.
I wanted magic that is rare, women that are bold and beautiful,
mysterious magicians with a hidden agenda, and gods that move mortals
about like pieces on a chessboard. That’s the book I wanted.
I was inspired by the fantasy writer David Gemmell in terms of pace.
When you read one of his books, you get your money’s worth. He
won’t spend eleven chapters with this characters arguing in a
castle. The term “I could never put it down” fits a Gemmell book
perfectly, and it’s what I have striven to accomplish in the
Shadyia Ascendant series.
Get ready for a sexy adventure you won’t soon forget!
A graduate in history, specializing in Central-European history, I’m an
avid computer gamer, reader enthusiast, and teacher of English as a
foreign language. I’m American and currently reside in Poland.
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